Daniel Martin


“When I hear established artist say that you should spend 70% of your time on your career, and 30% on your actual art, I think we have taken the wrong path”

AT: Where are you from and how/why you start engaging to art?

DM: I work and live in Leiden, the Netherlands. Both my parents worked in a museum so as a result of that I came in contact with a lot of culture and art from a young age.


AT: When did it become serious?

DM: In my teenage years i became interested in computer graphics and after a very brief school period I started a company in 3D graphics. Next to my work I attended two art academies because my love for painting was still present. After about ten years of working in computer graphics I had the opportunity to work on my art full-time.


AT: Are there any person that have been significant in your progression as an artist?

DM: I couldn’t name a specific person, I am mostly self taught. I think i picked up bits and pieces from a lot of different angles, and I am glad I did as I believe it helps to formulate your own truth about what is going on in the art world.


AT: What’s your first approach to the work? Where does your process start?

DM: The only real start I can mention is that I let things happen in order to make a beginning. As I often don’t have a starting point in terms of a certain story that needs to be told, a political view to transfer, or anything else that stems from human behaviour, I like to view creation as a part of nature that just needs a beginning on which can be build. From a more technical point of view I now like to create loose elements that I use. These elements can be anything, from things i find on the street, taken from someone’s creations, or old work i cut up. These elements I use as disjointed brushstrokes that are put back together in coherent shape again.

Exhibition view.

AT: What are your favourite tools and materials for working?

DM: It used to be just oil and canvas. Now I am trying to use everything I can get my hands on.


AT: Do you leave your work open to interpretation? Or do you think the viewer should engage with your work in a specific way?

DM: Art will always be viewed through the eyes of the beholder and as much as you try to transfer your thoughts, another person will make it their own no matter how well you tell it. For me personally if someone needs to tell the story behind a piece of art, it has failed. I need to feel that story, even if I just made it up and has become something totally else then what the artist wanted to communicate.


AT: How do you feel while you are working? You think of the final result?

DM: That depends on, in which part of the process I am with a piece. If we talk about the start, I try to more or less shut myself down. Thinking shouldn’t play a big role in creation as it can only get in the way. The real trick is to not expect and just transfer, and be amazed what came out and build on that to see where you want to take it.


AT: How do you understand when a work is finished?

DM: I don’t.

Tom. 120x160cm. Oil on canvas. 2017.
Carl. 50 x 70 cm, oil on canvas.2014.

AT: Where does the inspiration for the work come from? Do you find inspiration outside or it’s all inside you?

DM: I don’t believe there is inspiration in you. Everything you put down is based on something you have seen, so even when you are creating from mind it comes out of your internal library of captured moments that are reassembled by association.


AT: Do you think art can be learned or it is something innate?

DM: From my perspective creation is based on your ability to associate. I think that part is innate. What you associate is based on what you have learned, so to answer your question I would say both.


AT: There are any artists that influenced your works? Why?

DM: I can not name one artist that was my biggest influence, as many touched me with their work. It would be delusive to put down a couple names although I have before. I rather like to view influence on a bigger scale transcending the borders of art, taking every part of creation in, and benefit from that.


AT: How  important is for you the role of social media?

DM: Although I am not really keen on it, it has been important for me. I have met so many amazing artists and afficinado’s through social media I can’t deny the importance of online presence and activity.

Mason. 100x100cm. Oil on canvas. 2017.
Lucas. 65 x 75 cm. Oil on canvas. 2017.

AT: What’s your opinion about the contemporary art system nowadays from your point of view as an artist?

DM: It’s a difficult thing. In my opinion the art system has become too much of an career driven entity wrapped around the monetary system. On one hand art should be progressive and give us an idea of who we are as humanity, contemplate the past, and where we will be going in the future. On the other is has become a trade just like anything else we do. I don’t think the two go together. It has been made very difficult for artists to truly explore and reach new territories. When I hear established artist say that you should spend 70% of your time on your career, and 30% on your actual art, I think we have taken the wrong path.


AT: What do you find to be the most challenging or daunting thing about pursuing art? What is the most  rewarding part of working as an artist?

DM: Trying to find something new for yourself, knowing that you will fail many times is a daunting process. Really rewarding is when you find something that works for yourself.


AT: What do you do outside of painting?

DM: As of recently I started a laboratory with Daan Noppen, an artist from Amsterdam I work closely with. The idea behind it is to explore new shapes, materials, in all kinds of media. We both have a background in various digital media so we want to explore what we do in photography, video, installations, sculpture etc, to broaden our current world.


AT: What are your goals and expectations for the future?

DM: To truly be able to explore and show all ideas that are currently only happening in my studio. Next to that I am working on a plan to have international artists over to the city of Leiden for funded residencies. The idea is that they will be giving back to the local community by participation in events, giving lectures and workshops in the rich cultural narrative of Leiden. Rembrandt was born in Leiden and made his first works there. The perfect backdrop for artists to create if you ask me!

Exhibition view.
Daniel Martin
b. 1982 's-Gravenhage, the Netherlands
lives and works in Leiden


2008 Mix Academie, Amsterdam

2010 Vrije Academie, Den Haag



Group, Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy

Group, Breaking bounderies, Amsterdam

Group, Mijn schrift, Leidse lente, Leiden


Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam

Group, Nouveau Theatre, Leidse lente, Leiden

Kunstroute, Haagweg 4, Leiden

Group, van Schaik & van Schaik, Zeist


Group, 5&33 Gallery, Amsterdam

Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam

Group, the new season, Oudewater

Kunstroute, Haagweg 4, Leiden

Group, Face to Face, Gouda

Duo, Koppen bij elkaar – Philip Akkerman, Den Haag

Group, No Mans Art gallery, Rotterdam

Group, What do we worship,

Solo, I never lost you, Kunsthuis, Leiden

Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam

Kunstroute, Haagweg 4, Leiden

Affordable Art Fair, Maastricht

Group, Scheltema, Leiden


AIR 9, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam

Affordable Art Fair, Amsterdam

Kunstroute, Haagweg 4, Leiden

Museum Naturalis, Leiden



RuArtPark, Cuba

Palazzo Monti , Italy


Another magazine, inside a 13th century Italian palazzo turned art residency, october 2017

Bianca Martinelli, Giornale di Brescia, october 2017

Donnia Ghezlane-Lala, Dark Portraits Paintings Losing Their Identity, Fubiz, may, 2016

Benny Thopson, Empty Kingdom, january 2016

Anders Dyhr, Xamou-art, april, 2015

Anthony Hagan, Disposal of human identity, Stylenochaser, july 2015

Pirita Litmanen, REVS magazine, october 2014

Red. Los magazine, november 2014

Emma Willekes, Online galerij, Kunstenaar van de maand, january 2013

Renzo Candido, Kleurmakers, february 2013

Red. LOS magazine, november 2013

Red. LEVEN, march 2013

contact@danielmartin.nl www.danielmartin.nl